Citizens Advice response to Ofcoms’ call for inputs on helping consumers to engage in communications markets
evidence presented throughout the document points to a market in which even active consumers can struggle to find the best deal, while inactive, loyal customers are penalised. These findings chime with many of the findings of our own research. For example, we found that broadband customers who do not switch at the end of their minimum contract period pay a ‘loyalty penalty’ averaging £113 each year.
The call for inputs highlights a number of aspects of the market which may hinder engagement in the market, and the potential remedies it proposes have the potential to make a real difference for consumers. We comment on these proposals in greater depth below.
However, we are concerned that the document’s strong focus on informational remedies means that other important barriers to engagement are not being fully considered.
To be successful, any initiative to increase consumer engagement in the market needs to be approached with a truly open mind. It should consider whether the way the telecommunications market is currently structured actually allows consumers to engage when they need to most, and fits in with the way people live their lives.